After losing my beautiful girl so unexpectedly and suddenly last Thursday, I’ve been struggling. I’ve experienced loss before. I lost my first cat, Feebee, after a lengthy battle with lymphoma in April of 2000. I lost my office cat Virginia two years later after a brief decline, caused by her FIV positive status. And I lost Buckley Thanksgiving weekend of 2008 after receiving a dire prognosis of restrictive cardiomyopathy a few months earlier. All of these losses were difficult. I coped as best I could. I survived. And I thought that, as a result of getting through these past losses, I would be better prepared to deal with this most recent one. After all, I’m the person others turn to when they need help coping with losing a pet.
But when I had to let Amber go after a brief, severe illness, I was completely blind-sided by the depth and intensity of my grief. I had never lost a cat without having lots of time to prepare. Anticipatory grief, like all grief, is painful, but by its very nature, it is, for lack of a better word, a bit more gentle. This sudden, unexpected grief has been simply devastating. I’m still unable to really put this experience into words, and I’m still struggling.
Amber was my heart. She was the inspiration behind The Conscious Cat, and it just doesn’t feel right to return to “business as usual” when I’m still in deep mourning.
The one bright spot during these dark days have been my friends – both real life and online. The outpouring of support from my online friends has been overwhelming, and incredibly comforting. For the most part, these are people I’ve never met in person. We’ve connected through blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail. Most of us have never even spoken on the phone. And yet, they’ve all been there for me in various ways – offering cyber hugs, expressing their sadness and support in comments on this site and on Facebook, sending private messages and e-mails. Their love and support feels no less real than the love and support of my real life friends. I’m blessed to have every single one of them in my life.
Several of my online friends also ran tributes to Amber on their blogs. So, instead of our regular fare of cat health information, feline lifestyle and book reviews, this week, I’ll be honoring Amber’s memory and celebrating her life by running some of these tributes here on The Conscious Cat.
Thank you, all of you, for your outpouring of support – each and every one of your comments, e-mails and private messages means so much.